Why I Don’t Believe in Hell #3, Parenthood Edition

There are so many songs about how God is the greatest Father, a wonderfully compassionate, merciful, holy being who loves us more than any parent could love a child.

I believe those songs. But not in the way that perhaps the writers intended.

If you are a believer in Conscious Eternal Torment, I posit that you don’t in fact believe those songs.

‘God Loves Us Forever’ – Does he really? Say I’m going to die in a car accident at 24, and I’m unsaved. I die, and now I’m in Hell forever. It is impossible for me to comprehend, let alone believe in, a God who simultaneously loves you while letting you suffer eternally. So the only logical conclusion is that God ONLY loves you as long as you are on this earth. And only loves you longer than that if you accept Him through the blood of Jesus. (I don’t believe this…those are things that those who believe in Conscious Eternal Torment Hell believe, even if they don’t really think about it)

Those 24 years? What is that? .000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000% of eternity? So unless you accept Jesus, God really only loves you for an essentially unmeasurable amount of time? Doesn’t sound like a very loving God to me.

Not 3 weeks ago I again heard the statement ‘God loves your children more than you do.’ Sure, a benevolent loving God could do that…but not one who will let my children suffer for eternity for the sole reason of not believing in Him. That is by definition, not a loving God.

Imagine if, as parents, we reacted in the same way a CET God does. *Child says a bad word.* ‘Child, that is bad! You must repent, or go to timeout…forever.’ Isn’t that essentially what many believe God has said? You have somewhere between 15 and 100 years to ‘get it right’, or you get to spend a million, billion, quadrillion times that measly amount of time suffering eternally. It’s ridiculous.

It’s like telling a 2 year…you have 3 seconds to study for the bar exam, 1 second to take it…and if you fail, I’m going to spank you for the rest of your life…and beyond. God has created us flawed (regardless of what you believe about Adam, *I* had no choices in my creation), full of hormones and environmental conditioning that makes the vast majority of us crappy. Guess what, that’s not our fault…its Gods. And then to have Him throw the lot of us into Hell because of the choices He made upon creating us just compounds the cruelty.

So if the CET God is the real one…all I can say is, He will never love my children more than I do. Because while I may use chastisement to ‘train my children up’, I would never torture them (or allow them to be tortured) forever if they don’t do what or live the way I want.

Why I Don’t Believe in Hell #2, Planned Parenthood Edition

While Hell may exist as a place where souls go that don’t accept Jesus, I don’t believe it is a place of Conscious Eternal Torment. That image is unbearable to me. A God who would create a place where people are tormented literally forever because they don’t believe in something that on its best day is ephemeral and foreign, and at its worst unbelievable, would be an abominable being, unworthy of worship.

As a conservative, I believe in incentives. I believe they matter, and I believe they change behavior.

Today I’m going to talk about what Hell (as Conscious Eternal Torment), as an incentive could cause reasonable people to do, if they truly believed it with every fiber of their being.

For the most part, fervent Christians hate Planned Parenthood, for many good reasons. However, if we examine the Hell Incentive (HI), Christians should regard PP with much regard. How can I possibly say that? Well, if we accept that 2.2bn people on the planet are Christians (although many Protestants disregard the billion Catholics as not being really Christian), then we can guess that a bare minimum of 72% of people are going to Hell. I think if we count actual practicing, born-again, dyed in the blood Christians, the number is probably closer to 10% of the population, putting the Hellbound folks at an estimated 90%.

If you believe in Conscious Eternal Torment (CIT), have you ever thought about that number, and what it really means? I know many Christians believe it, but I can’t imagine any kind of benevolent deity creating a species where He knew in advance that 90% would be spending Eternity in everlasting torment. It is simply beyond my imagination that any human, no matter how twisted or evil, could contemplate such an action. So imagining my loving, Heavenly Father, who makes all things work together for my good, could do such a thing, is not consistent with what I know about Him. Yes, yes, I know the ‘but people choose it, not God’ argument…I simply disregard it as, well, dumb. I know my daughters will choose to eat Skittles until they are ill…it is my job to prevent them from doing so. God knows 90% of us are going to fail His test, and go to Hell…if He lets that happen (even if He provides an alternative), He’s just not a very good parent.

So what does this have to do with PP?

Well, if I have ANY doubts about whether or not my child is going to go to Heaven or Hell, any reasonable person would choose abortion. WHAT??? Yes, that sounds insane to many Christian ears…but bear with me. So if we assume that only 10% of people are going to Heaven, then the Church is not very effective at saving souls. If we assume that baby souls automatically go to Heaven (and I haven’t heard any good arguments about why they wouldn’t), then Planned Parenthood has a 100% Heavenbound rate for all aborted children, a cosmic leap better than the 9 of 10 that go to Hell under the Church’s watch.

If we really believe 90% of the world is going to Hell, how on earth can any reasonable person choose to have children? It is barbaric and cruel in any sense of the word. Most parents won’t let their kids walk to school at 10 years old, even though simply choosing to have them gives them a 9 in 10 chance of spending eternity in hell?

I have a ‘Choose Life’ license plate on my car. I got it before I contemplated this particular argument. The question is ‘WHY Choose Life?’ If we told people, ‘your child has a 90% chance of having a terrible disease…he will come out of the womb and be normal for 5 seconds…and will then spend the next 100 years suffering never-ending agony.’ I sure wouldn’t have children, would you? Even if as a Christian I believe my children have a higher chance of being Christian themselves, say 50%, I would still never flip a coin with my child’s life. It would be insane. So if 90% of people are going to essentially live for 5 seconds and spend Eternity in Hell, why have them at all?

Why would a God who knows 90% of His creation is going to spend forever in Hell, why would He also command us to ‘go forth and multiple’? It’s cruel beyond all imagining, creating SOULS by the billion that you know are simply going to be tormented eternally?

Again, I understand the argument ‘but its their choice!’…I get it, I do. But again I say, it’s been their choice for 2000 years. Conversion isn’t working. Evangelism isn’t working. Isn’t it time to just let our species die off so we don’t continue to populate Hell? In that sense, there is really no significant harm, and mostly good. The only harm is some souls aren’t created that would go to Heaven…but 9 times that number of souls aren’t created that would go to Hell.

This leads us to the other incentives created by Hell. A reasonable person could wander around killing anyone under the age of agency (whatever that is, 10-11?), doing so under the auspice of increasing their chances of going to Heaven by 99%. Anyone who believes that 90% of the population is going to spend forever in Conscious Eternal Torment would be completely justified in killing as many children as possible to save them even the tiniest chance they would spend eternity that way. If I am destined for Hell, someone, PLEASE go back in time and kill me!!!

Imagine Hitler and the Jews. Most born-again Christians believe Jews are going to Hell as they haven’t accepted Christ. If that’s the case, all of the children those 7 million people would have had if the Holocaust did not occurred, and their descendants, have been spared Hell because of Hitler. How many people is that over 4 generations? 25,000,000 souls not going to Hell because of the evilest madmen on the 20th century? All of the children Mao and Stalin killed are in Heaven now, while if they had grown to adulthood they stand a 90% chance of burning eternally?

If CET is true, then the ONLY reasonable solution is for people to simply not have any more children and to let the world die out. If we assume the end comes in 1000 years, by not having any more children, we could save tens of billions of souls from Hell, at the cost of only a fraction of that who would get to Heaven. If I really Love My Neighbor, as I’m commanded, it is impossible to suggest to any person they should have children, as the odds are any child born will spend forever in Hell.

I don’t believe in a God who would make benevolent men of the worst dictators in human history. I don’t believe in a God who would allow us to continue procreating if the vast majority of us were simply doomed to eternal torment. If that makes me an apostate of some sort, or a heretic, so be it.

Before the Beginning

God: Hey, Lucifer, come over here, look at what I’m going to do.

Lucifer: Yes, LORD…what is it?

God: It’s a…Universe. A billion years from now I’m going to create a massive, unimaginably beautiful corporeal reality populated by another race of immortal, sentient beings.

Lucifer: Amazing, LORD. How will the sentients differ from us angels?

God: Well…they’ll be controlled by something I call…human nature.

Lucifer: What is that, LORD?

God: It’s their biggest flaw and greatest asset.

Lucifer: I’m confused, LORD, how is a flaw pleasing to you?

God: While you angels love me, for well, everything…I want a race of beings who will love me for me. I’m going to tell a beautiful story with those humans, starring my Son Jesus.

Lucifer: Can you tell me the story?

…6000 years passes as God relates the story of the universe and humanity to Lucifer.

God: Well, what do you think?

Lucifer: …uhh…

God: Well?

Lucifer: Sooo…you create a flawed race of immortal sentients…told them not to do something, and then tempted them with it within arm’s reach, knowing they would fail you as soon as humanly possible…and then threw 90% of the pitiful, weak-minded, and morally flawed creatures into a pit of eternal torment.

God: I know, it’s great, isn’t it? Uhhh…that’s not the takeaway…what about the part about my Son?

Lucifer: Well…it’s a beautiful story…

God: But?

Lucifer: Well, if you had created humanity with a little more obedience, and a little less hormone load…would it have been necessary?

God: Well, no, not technically…but it is a story about Him, after all!

Lucifer: So you could have created a race not quite so flawed?

God: Of course.

Lucifer: And you could have created one where they were all like, say, Job?

God: Well, I did that in my Mind’s Eye, but then the humans never fell, and so didn’t need Jesus, and He didn’t have His story told.

Lucifer: So…when you create obedient humans, there’s no story?

God: Exactly…so isn’t it wonderful?

Lucifer: Uhh…

God: Spit it out!

Lucifer: Well…I feel kind of bad for the humans. You talk about this free will thing, even throw 90% of them into eternal torment for it…but you’ve really mapped out their entire existence, down to the number of hairs on their head.

God: So?

Lucifer: Well…tormenting 49 billion souls in a story that’s already written seems…I don’t know…cruel. Is there a reason to even create this Universe if 90% of its inhabitants are simply going to spend it suffering eternally?

God: But they sinned against me!

Lucifer: Well, technically they don’t even exist yet. In Genesis you write that you regretted making them at all…considering they don’t even exist yet, you can choose to do something different so you don’t regret them. Why did you write the story in a way that you regret and then wipe them all out? You could just say, right now, that you you’ll make them so they don’t make you quite so mad. And maybe you could work on a new final disposition for their souls?

God: What do you mean?

Lucifer: Well…how about that Hindu thing…if they do a poor job of living like Jesus, they come back worse off than before…and if they do a good job, they get to go to Heaven.

God: But there’s no fear in that.

Lucifer: True, but there also aren’t 49 billion souls suffering eternal torment in a universe where they never really had a chance. Look at them, over and over they say how merciful you are…and maybe for that billion going to Heaven, that’s true…but for the rest…not so much.

God: There needs to be a consequence for disobedience!

Lucifer: Well, yeah, I guess…but does it have to involve eternal torment? Look, the humans just write tickets for things like jaywalking, and tax evasion. Does every sin need to equate to eternal torment? That seems like it maybe lacks a little nuance.

God: But they all have the opportunity to accept my Son!

Lucifer: And how many do?

God: A billion out of 50 billion total souls or so.

Lucifer: And in the version where you create Job first?

God: Well…in that version they never are disobedient, so don’t need Jesus.

Lucifer: And…well…you’re OK with creating a version of the universe where 90% of the sentient beings spend 50 years in a corporeal body eking a living out of the dust, most in poverty, sickness, and war, and who are already miserable…and then throwing them into a pit of eternal suffering?

How about this girl? (Points to one on the Universe Dashboard) She died at 19 in a horrible drunk driving accident.

God: Well, she heard about Jesus at summer camp 5 years earlier…plenty of time to accept Me.

Lucifer: Well…she was also raped by a camp counselor at that very summer camp…

God: Irrelevant, she died without accepting Me.

Lucifer: And…how about this kid? 24 years old. Grew up in an abusive home, father beat him, mother drunk, died of an overdose.

God: His own fault…he heard about Me in Sunday School for 10 years!

Lucifer: Well, yeah, where his teachers and the pastor ignored the bruises and never really tried to help him because the parents were upstanding members of the church.

God: Still irrelevant.

Lucifer: I mean, isn’t there something just a touch more merciful you can think of than hell? Sure, I get it, they can’t go to Heaven because they didn’t accept Jesus…but I don’t know, how about you strand them on a desert island for eternity…or maybe just wink them out of existence? This whole eternal torment thing doesn’t really fit the story of a loving Father and merciful God.

God: Get out, come back when you aren’t so impertinent!


Heya, welcome to blog #15 or so.  I’ve written about many things over many years.  In this blog, I’m seeking help from others.

I’m a believer.  I love God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.  I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose again.  And yet, I am tormented and conflicted about some core tenets of most Protestant denominations.  Not, hey, I don’t understand this, or hmm, that’s confusing.  But a lay awake at night, think about my doubts all day at work, and can’t concentrate on praise or the sermon at church because I am consumed by thoughts I can’t reconcile.  I’ve had this happen several times, and over the course of weeks, months, and years. Finally, I adopted beliefs that allow me to believe in a benevolent God…but it puts me at odds with my church, and what many (or even most) people teach about the Bible.  Some may think I’m way off the deep end and outside of salvation, and maybe you are right.   I’ve put off being baptized because I can’t completely agree with my church’s Statement of Faith.  The bout of doubt last year had me considering not attending church, because being there was simply 90 minutes of self-argument.  I’m at that point again, and it’s disturbing my overall well-being.

I’m not a skeptic.  I’m not angry at God or the church.  I’m not looking for ‘gotchas’ in the Bible or the historical record.  I’m truly, honestly, and fervently seeking the truth using the gifts God bestowed upon me:  intelligence, rational thought, and logic.  Some of the posts here may sound sarcastic, or heretical…but please note they stem from a desire to present my thoughts in a way so others can understand how truly difficult it is for me to correlate some teachings and tenets with the truths I believe about God. 

So if you are patient and willing to have some rational discussion about why I (currently) believe many folks have it wrong (I’m definitely not excluding the possibility I’m one of them), you are welcome here.